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Tiny terrapin sees off thirsty lion and lioness drinking from a waterhole

Turtle-y fearless! Tiny terrapin sees off thirsty lion and lioness drinking from a waterhole at South African game reserve

  • A fearless terrapin is seen aggressively defending its waterhole from two lions
  • Footage was captured by Reggi Barreto, 30, in Greater Kruger Park, South Africa
  • The safari guide said the ‘surprising’ terrapin behaviour was ‘incredibly rare’

A territorial terrapin has been captured showing two lions who is boss as it aggressively shoos them away from its waterhole. 

In the video the tiny animal is seen spooking the male and female lions by popping up in the water inches from their noses and charging towards them as they try to quench their thirst in Greater Kruger Park, South Africa.

The incredible footage was captured by safari guide, Reggi Barreto, 30, while on safari with a private guest near the Sand River in the MalaMala Private Game Reserve.

Mr Barreto said: ‘There were plenty of elephants and general game along the way as we headed into the area where the lions were.’

‘I knew the lions would look for water to drink and we positioned ourselves in the perfect spot with the sunlight in our favour, ready for the sighting.

‘What came next we did not expect – I was pleasantly surprised when the terrapin came out of the wallow towards the male and then the lioness.’

The guide said that although the lions were mildly annoyed by the small reptile the lion and lioness continued to drink from the fresh waterhole until satisfied.

Despite both lions having blood on their chins from recently hunting a zebra foal the terrapin seemingly had no fear as it popped up just inches from the predators’ mouths.

In the video the tiny animal is seen spooking the male and female lions by popping up in the water inches from their noses in Greater Kruger Park, South Africa

The incredible footage was captured by safari guide, Reggi Barreto, 30, while on safari with a private guest near the Sand River in the MalaMala Private Game Reserve

The incredible footage was captured by safari guide, Reggi Barreto, 30, while on safari with a private guest near the Sand River in the MalaMala Private Game Reserve

The small terrapin is seen pushing against the lion as it tries to drink the freshwater

The small terrapin is seen pushing against the lion as it tries to drink the freshwater

The lion is slightly deterred by the small reptile but continues to drink as it pops up around him

The lion is slightly deterred by the small reptile but continues to drink as it pops up around him

The terrapin is seen rising from the water, almost touching the nose of the lioness

Mr Barreto believes the animal was attracted by the blood on the noses of the lions

The terrapin is seen rising from the water, almost touching the nose of the lioness. Mr Barreto believes the animal was attracted by the blood on the noses of the lions

Mr Barreto added: ‘Both lions drank their fill despite the interruptions from the terrapin and then headed back closer to the zebra foal to lay down, as it was a very humid day.’

‘It was an incredibly rare sighting for me to film – watching the terrapin approach the lions that had blood on their chins from the zebra. It seems as though the terrapin was actually more interested in getting some of that blood, as opposed to ‘chasing the lions away’.

Reggi says capturing the right moment ‘Is all about understanding animal behaviour and predicting what they will do next. It requires plenty of patience searching for animals and spending time with them to see how the sighting will pan out.’

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